The Week In Review: Manufacturing

GF’s 12nm FD-SOI; UMC’s MEMS; Lam ALE; used tool venture.


GlobalFoundries has rolled out its next-generation FD-SOI technology. The new 12nm FD-SOI process is called 12FDX. It is designed for a range of applications, from mobile computing and 5G connectivity to artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. “Some applications require the unsurpassed performance of finFET transistors, but the vast majority of connected devices need high levels of integration and more flexibility for performance and power consumption, at costs finFET cannot achieve,” said GlobalFoundries CEO Sanjay Jha. “Our 22FDX and 12FDX technologies fill a gap in the industry’s roadmap by providing an alternative path for the next generation of connected intelligent systems. And with our FDX platforms, the cost of design is significantly lower, reopening the door for advanced node migration and spurring increased innovation across the ecosystem.”

At the same time, GlobalFoundries continues to ramp up its current FD-SOI technology based on a 22nm process. This technology is called 22FDX. The company also announced a new partner program, called FDXcelerator. This is an ecosystem designed to facilitate 22FDX-based system-on-chip (SoC) designs and reduce time-to-market for its customers.

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) and MEMS foundry Asia Pacific Microsystems (APM) have announced a collaboration to provide enhanced MEMS manufacturing services for mutual customers. UMC will leverage its 200mm and 300mm production capabilities with APM’s 150mm fab and MEMS know-how and prototyping experience. This, in turn, will provide chip designers with a flexible and scalable end-to-end MEMS manufacturing solution.

Separately, SEMI presented its industry leadership award for sustainable manufacturing to Po Wen Yen, chief executive of UMC. Yen received the SEMI Sustainable Manufacturing Leadership Award at Semicon Taiwan.

Samsung Electronics America is collaborating with T-Mobile US on new demonstrations and lab tests for 5G mobile networks.

Intel has announced the acquisition of Movidius. With Movidius, Intel gains a chip platform for use in accelerating computer vision applications.

Fab tools and T&M
Atomic layer etch (ALE) is a hot market. Now, Lam Research is expanding its ALE portfolio. The company has added ALE capabilities on its Flex dielectric etch system. Enabled by Lam’s Advanced Mixed Mode Pulsing (AMMP) technology, the new ALE process has demonstrated the atomic-level control needed to address key challenges in scaling logic devices to 10nm and below.

Separately, Lam and Manz AG have begun operations in their joint venture, dubbed Talus Manufacturing. Talus is a global refurbishment center in Taiwan. Talus will upgrade and refurbish Lam’s semiconductor manufacturing equipment to fulfill customer demands in Taiwan and globally.

National Instruments has rolled out new RF capabilities for its ATE systems. The capabilities are geared for several applications, such as power transmit and receive, envelope tracking and digital predistortion.

Market Research
SEMI has published an update of its World Fab Forecast report, which shows increased equipment spending, reaching 4.1% year-over-year in 2016 and 10.6% in 2017.